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Legislature Considers Retiree Insurance Moratorium Extension
Protects Municipal Retirees and Teachers From Unfair Rate Increases
JUNE 21, 2016: Members are asked to contact their Massachusetts State Senator and Representative and ask that they support Section 46 of the Senate Budget – which protects municipal retirees and retired teachers from unfair increases in local health insurance premiums.
Specifically, the protection, included in the Senate’s FY17 Budget as Section 46, extends the Municipal Retiree Health Insurance Premium Moratorium for another two-years – through July 1, 2018. This measure prevents cities and towns that have recently implemented insurance plan design changes under the Municipal Insurance Reform Law (Chapter 69) from also increasing premium contribution rate percentages.
When this law was passed in 2011 the Legislature included a protection for retirees to prevent the unfair double burden of higher copayments/deductibles AND higher monthly insurance premiums. However, without legislative action, the Municipal Retiree Health Insurance Moratorium will expire this year on July 1, 2016.
Without an extension, the expiration of the law could result in higher monthly health insurance payments for many municipal retirees, as well as retired teachers. At the local level insurance premium contribution percentage rates are set by mayors and boards of selectmen. In most cases, these rates can be increased as high as 50/50 without any input from retirees or the need for bargaining. Retirees DO NOT have collective bargaining rights.
For the past several weeks our Association has been working closely with both the House and Senate Leadership to find a long-term solution to this issue. We have met personally with Senate President Stan Rosenberg and House Speaker Robert DeLeo, as well as the House and Senate Ways and Means Committee Chairs.
The legislative leadership has vowed to work with our Association on this issue with the hope of arriving at a permanent fix in the 2017-18 Session. However, we must first extend the current moratorium in order to protect municipal retirees from unfair rate increases in the interim.
We ask that you take a moment to email or call your State Representative and State Senator and ask that they support and urge the Budget Conference Committee to adopt Senate Section 46, the Municipal Retirees Insurance Premium Moratorium extension.
Retirees must be united as one. Therefore, we are calling upon our state retirees to stand together with their fellow local retirees and contact their State Senator and Representative. State retirees have been grandfathered under the contribution rate in which they paid upon retirement. Currently, three different contribution rates (10, 15 or 20%) apply to state retirees - depending upon date of retirement.